SHAFAQNA – – Staffers loyal to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have removed potentially damaging documents from material sent to a panel investigating the Benghazi, Libya attack, a former official charged Monday. Raymond Maxwell, formerly head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, made the accusation to the Daily Signal, a publication backed by the conservative Heritage Foundation. It surfaced as the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares to hold its first hearing this week. The State Department called the accusation “without merit.” It said the Accountability Review Board that investigated the attack received all the documents it sought. Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, died in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The review board harshly criticized the State Department’s handling of security at the consulate, blaming “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels.” But it did not implicate Clinton in those failures.
Maxwell told the Daily Signal that he discovered an “after hours” gathering of officials in a basement room of State Department headquarters, on a weekend before documents were turned over to the review board.
The former official said an office director told him the group was there to separate Benghazi documents that might put anybody in the Near Eastern Affairs front office of the “Seventh Floor” — where Clinton worked — “in a bad light.”
Maxwell was quoted as wondering whether the Accountability Review Board received “a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing.”
However, Maxwell did not know if in fact damaging documents were withheld.
Maxwell is an admittedly disgruntled former employee who was among four department officials put on forced leave as a result of the Benghazi attack.
He previously was interviewed by two publications, and gave testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Oversight Committee and the Accountability Review Board. This marked the first time he has publicly claimed the documents might have been scrubbed.
He named Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, who reportedly was responsible for Maxwell’s suspension, along with another top Clinton aide, as overseeing the operation.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, told Fox News that Maxwell made the same claims to members of the House Oversight Committee, but the panel did not cite the accusation in a long report on the attack and the State Department’s response.
Source : nydailynews.com/